Field Notes
The Making of Middle East Studies in the United States
Zachary Lockman



In the summer of 1963 the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) moved into its newly completed building on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington DC. SAIS had been founded twenty years earlier, as the Second World War was raging. “Washington was coming alive with the prospects of new power,” as a history of SAIS puts it, and a group of government officials, businessmen and academics decided that the capital needed a new institution to provide the kind of graduate training in world affairs that would serve the country’s status as an emerging global superpower.1 Seven years after its founding SAIS became part of the Johns Hopkins University. Now, thanks to funding from several of the country’s richest foundations, including the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Rockefeller Foundation, it finally had a brand new home of its own, right in the heart of the nation’s capital.

To celebrate both its twentieth anniversary and the dedication of its new building, SAIS invited a number of distinguished practitioners and scholars of international affairs to deliver lectures over the course of the 1963–1964 academic year. The highest-ranking government official to accept the school’s invitation to participate in this lecture series was McGeorge Bundy (1919–1996), who held the post of Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs—more commonly referred to as the National Security Advisor. As a central figure in the executive branch’s apparatus for formulating and coordinating military and foreign policy, Bundy was at the time a key architect of deepening U.S. military intervention in Vietnam.2

In his address at SAIS, titled “The Battlefields of Power and the Searchlights of the Academy,” Bundy discussed the relationship between what he termed the “world of power” and the “world of learning.” Hailing “the necessary and constantly expanding process of connection between the university and the government,” Bundy cited as examples the role of science in public affairs and of economists in policymaking, and then went on to declare area studies a “third special area of powerful professional connection between the higher learning and government.” He continued: “It is a curious fact of academic history that the first great center of area studies in the United States was not located in any university, but in Washington, during the Second World War, in the Office of Strategic Services. In very large measure the area study programs developed in American universities in the years after the war were manned, directed, or stimulated by graduates of the OSS—a remarkable institution, half cops-and-robbers and half faculty meeting.”3

Bundy was not wrong to highlight the importance of the OSS, the country’s first civilian intelligence agency, in helping to spawn area studies as a distinctive component of the postwar academic scene in the United States. Established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942, the OSS recruited heavily among scholars with expertise on parts of the world in which the United States was, or would soon be, deeply engaged. But as this study shows, area studies had important prewar roots as well, and other visions, institutional sites and factors contributed to its emergence and development. And while there is certainly some basis in fact for Bundy’s assertion in this same speech that “it is still true today, and I hope it will always be, that there is a high measure of interpenetration between universities with area programs and the information-gathering agencies of the government of the United States,” I argue in this book that it is nonetheless simplistic to depict area studies in the United States as in essence a product or servant of the national security state built during the Cold War.4

At SAIS Bundy went on to call for “a much wider and stronger connection between universities and governments than we yet have. . . . What there is not enough of yet, and what I come to praise, is the kind of academic work which proceeds from the same center of concern as that of the man who is himself committed to an active part in government. That center of concern is the taking and use of power itself.”5 Bundy’s appeal to scholars to more fully engage with, and more effectively serve, state power may well have resonated positively for many when he issued it. But within a few years his own career in government service would come to an ignominious end, undermined by the increasingly obvious failure of the American war in Vietnam that he had helped initiate and direct. At the same time, growing numbers of academics, in area studies and elsewhere, were coming to recognize the potential costs and consequences—moral, political and intellectual—of the kind of state service to which Bundy had exhorted them. This development would contribute significantly to the transformations that area studies fields underwent from the late 1960s onward, even as Bundy himself, as president of the Ford Foundation from 1966 to 1979, exercised the power that position gave him in ways that helped to shape these fields, along with many other dimensions of American life.

Bundy’s reference to university-based area studies as a key domain in which the “world of learning” intersected with the “world of power” manifests its presence by the 1960s as a well-established and apparently durable feature of the landscape of the American research university and of American academic life. As this study shows, the early visionaries and funders of area studies promoted it as an intellectually innovative and naturally interdisciplinary new mode of producing and disseminating knowledge. Alongside the disciplines, each of which was (at least nominally) organized around some body (or competing bodies) of theory specifying that discipline’s distinctive object of inquiry (and thus its boundaries), along with a set of methods enabling investigation of that object, each of the area studies fields would in principle focus on a distinct geographic region and draw on multiple disciplines to produce a new kind of knowledge that would advance the world of scholarship but also be of benefit to government and to the American people. That vision was never fully realized; nonetheless, over time, as the various area studies fields developed, they became increasingly bound up with new kinds of scholarly institutions and networks, and were firmly established within the university setting and on the national academic scene.

In this book I explore key dimensions of how that came to pass, especially for Middle East studies in the United States.6 In so doing I take a very different approach, and draw on entirely different sources, than I did in my earlier book Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism. In that study I offered a broad survey of Western engagement with, and popular and scholarly representations of, the Middle East, Islam and Muslims. A good part of that book addressed the linkages between the power which since the Second World War the United States has exercised in the Middle East and the Muslim world, on the one hand, and on the other the knowledge produced about those regions in this country. It was in that context that I discussed the emergence and evolution of Middle East studies in the United States from the end of the Second World War to the near present, with the aim of delineating what I termed that field’s “politics of knowledge,” along with the transformations which it underwent over that period. While that overview included some discussion of the origins of area studies in general, its main concern was the intellectual trajectory of U.S. Middle East studies, especially its engagements with Orientalism and modernization theory in the 1950s and 1960s, and the critiques of these two paradigms that made themselves increasingly felt within the field from the 1970s onward. Moreover, the account of the history of Middle East studies that I offered there was based largely on secondary sources and on analyses of specific texts which I argued could be taken as emblematic of certain features of, and trends in, scholarly writing on the Middle East and the Muslim world at particular points in time.

I continue to stand by the big picture that I drew in Contending Visions, though I have never claimed that it is the last word on the subject. Indeed, after its publication I became increasingly aware of how little we actually knew about many dimensions of the history of this field or the contexts that gave birth to it and helped shaped it. That realization impelled me to head for the archives and ultimately to write this book, which is quite different in purpose, focus and scope than Contending Visions. Drawing mainly on material found in the archives of foundations, academic organizations and universities, this book seeks to reconstruct the origins and development of area studies, initially envisioned as a distinct way of achieving and imparting knowledge about the world and eventually embodied in a new set of institutions and practices within American higher education. Within that broader context, this study focuses on the history of Middle East studies, including the elaboration of what I term the field’s infrastructure: the establishment of new academic institutions, including centers, departments and/or programs focused on a specific geographic or cultural space; the provision of funding for new modes of research and training; the development of language-training methods, materials and programs as well as of library and bibliographic resources; and the launching of new academic organizations and networks, scholarly journals, and models of graduate education and undergraduate pedagogy. To put it somewhat differently: this book narrates the construction and trajectory of Middle East studies as an academic field while seeking to situate that history in relation to the rise of area studies as a whole, to some of the transformations that American higher education underwent after the Second World War, and to developments in American society and politics, including of course the rise of the American national security state.

Much, perhaps most, of the scholarly work on area studies in the United States has foregrounded that last dimension, on the premise (implicit or explicit) that area studies was basically a byproduct of the Cold War, launched primarily to produce knowledge and trained personnel of use to the government. There is thus a sizable literature that explores the ways in which, during that era, American scholars (especially political scientists) involved with one or another area studies field and sometimes funded directly or indirectly by government contracts and/or by the big foundations strove to elucidate issues of concern to policymakers and intelligence agencies, and thereby to produce “policy-relevant” knowledge.7 The questions on which this literature focuses are clearly important, and there have recently been several valuable studies of the linkages between American power in the Middle East and American expertise on that region.8 However, in my view this framing needs to be supplemented, and enriched and complicated, by serious attention to what actually went into imagining and building the new kind of academic field that area studies (and, for my purposes, Middle East studies in particular) purported to be, and how they evolved over time. The Cold War context (and, more broadly and perhaps more usefully, visions and exigencies of the United States as a global power in the age of decolonization) played their parts, to be sure, but as this study shows so did developments in philanthropy, higher education, the humanities and the social sciences in the United States before, during and after the Second World War, as well as factors specific to each regional field. So I do not in this book assume that what area studies produced can be understood as only, or even mainly, a Cold War form of knowledge. A range of factors contributed to the conceptualization, launching and specific historical trajectories of the various regionally focused academic fields which were also, each of them in its own way, internally complex and diverse, shaped by distinctive legacies and cultures, and experiencing significant change over time. The Cold War context and these fields’ linkages with the national security state therefore do not tell us all we need to know in order to make sense of the history of any one of them.9

In the course of exploring how U.S. Middle East studies took shape as a distinct academic field, I do not devote a great deal of time to discussing the intellectual content of the books, articles and conference papers that individual scholars produced, or the theoretical paradigms and methodological presuppositions, explicit or implicit, that informed their work, or how scholarly expertise on the Middle East related to policymaking. I made this choice for several reasons. For one, I have already discussed dimensions of the field’s intellectual history at some length in Contending Visions, which might profitably be read alongside this study, and see no reason to repeat myself. It also does not seem to me that scholars in this field actually had much of an impact on policymaking. But perhaps most simply, my priorities in this book lie elsewhere: I seek here to elucidate the broader visions, rationales and decision-making processes which underpinned the development of area studies as a mode of understanding the world and of pursuing research, graduate training and undergraduate education, while delving most deeply into the agendas, contention, anxieties, mechanics and logistics that informed field-building in U.S. Middle East studies.

To reconstruct and narrate this complex story, I focus largely on institutions and networks of various kinds, and the people involved with them. Emily Hauptmann has noted that “when externally funded research becomes crucial to universities and individual academics, asking whether and how the entities that supply it influence academic disciplines become important questions. To answer them . . . one must identify the channels through which external funds flow into and then reconfigure the terrain of academic disciplines.”10 This understanding has encouraged scholars to investigate the perspectives, motivations and decision-making processes of the institutions, networks and individuals whose patronage, initiatives and leadership helped shape key developments in twentieth-century American intellectual and academic life—not just in the social sciences but in the humanities as well, and not just during the Cold War but before and after it too. In keeping with this approach, this study begins by discussing the growing engagement after the First World War of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Rockefeller Foundation with the social sciences and the humanities at America’s universities, and proceeds to explore the efforts of the foundation-funded American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), from the late 1920s to the outbreak of the Second World War, to induce scholars and disciplines in the humanities to pay greater attention to what was thought of as the non-Western world and to develop more effective methods of language training. I argue that these initiatives fostered new networks and institutions that can be seen as forerunners of (and sometimes models for) the area studies fields that would emerge after the war.

This book goes on to explore how, during the Second World War, an emerging vision of a new kind of regionally focused knowledge about the wider world crystallized at a range of sites, including the Office of Strategic Services but also other government, academic and university-based entities and programs. Key foundation and academic leaders (many of the latter associated with the Social Science Research Council, SSRC) embraced that vision early on, and soon after the war ended Carnegie and Rockefeller, joined in the early 1950s by the even wealthier Ford Foundation, allocated a great deal of money to translate it into reality. In fact, these three foundations play key roles in this story: long before the federal government began supporting area studies, it was behind-the-scenes decision-making at the foundations, and of course the large-scale funding they provided, which from the mid-1940s onward enabled the establishment at universities across the country of new area studies centers, departments and programs, as well as the launching of other vehicles through which to sustain and advance the new regionally focused academic fields, including Middle East studies.

Among those vehicles were the committees set up for each regional field to oversee and promote its intellectual and infrastructural development. Since my focus here is on Middle East studies, I devote a great deal of attention in this book to the work of the various committees appointed (with foundation funding and oversight) from the late 1930s onward by the ACLS, by the SSRC, or jointly by both, to build this field, institutionally but also intellectually. In particular, I reconstruct in some detail the history of the Committee on the Near and Middle East established in 1951 by the SSRC and from 1959 sponsored jointly with the ACLS. Long before the founding of the Middle East Studies Association in 1966, it was this committee which was deemed responsible for providing intellectual leadership for Middle East studies in the United States, for coordinating among the field’s centers and programs, and for developing its infrastructure. Even after MESA was established, this committee continued to regard the formulation and implementation of a coherent research program that would propel the field forward as one of its main missions. My research shows that this committee’s conception and execution of its field-building mission was deeply ambiguous and that, despite notable achievements in the later 1950s and the 1960s in putting in place key components of the field’s infrastructure, it never quite accomplished other elements of its mission as originally envisioned.

This book narrates a good part of the history of Middle East studies in the United States through the lens of this committee’s history. Some readers may feel that I have paid inordinate (and excessively detailed) attention to its doings and exaggerated its significance. But I believe that a close look at what this committee tried to do, how it tried to do it, and what its shifting roster of members (most of them leading scholars in the field) thought they were doing and why, can contribute to a deeper and fuller understanding of how this field was built; it enables us to see how the sausage was actually made, so to speak. I must hope that my fellow scholars who know how academic life works, who may, for example, have had to sit through seemingly endless hours of committee meetings, often deadly tedious but sometimes surprisingly productive, will understand my choice and why it may offer a potentially interesting and valuable perspective. This is often where important academic decisions get made, or not made, with real consequences.

But there is another reason why I devote so much effort to reconstructing what this committee in its various incarnations was up to, one which highlights a key theme of this study. From 1991 to 1995, relatively early in my own academic career, I served on this same SSRC-ACLS Joint Committee on the Near and Middle East toward what turned out to be the very end of its lifespan, though of course we did not know that at the time. We did a good job, I think, of awarding research fellowships to smart graduate students, which in its own way helped advance the field, and we had many excellent meals in interesting places. But I also have vivid memories of witnessing, from my perch at the bottom of the committee’s social hierarchy, the angst that beset the senior scholars who led the committee as they sought to fulfill their mandate to frame and implement a research agenda that could move U.S. Middle East studies forward.

Decades later, in the course of my archival research for this book, I was surprised to find that this same committee, charged with overseeing the intellectual (and, for a period, institutional) development of Middle East studies, had been plagued by this same anxiety virtually from its inception in 1951. Over the decades that followed many of the committee’s members, generally senior figures in the field, perceived Middle East studies as intellectually isolated and backward, and often despaired about its prospects. They were convinced that while the social science disciplines (and perhaps some of the other regional fields as well) were making great intellectual advances, they in Middle East studies were failing to fulfill their mission of formulating and implementing a productive research agenda for their field rooted in some coherent intellectual paradigm. In reality, of course, much of what was going on in disciplines like political science in the 1950s and 1960s turned out to be a dead end, and many in those disciplines (and other area studies fields) had their doubts and anxieties as well. Nonetheless, the sense among leaders in Middle East studies that they were failing to delineate a paradigm that could generate cutting-edge research, and thereby enable them to emulate their colleagues’ apparent triumphs, generated widespread feelings of anxiety, self-doubt and intellectual inferiority that would be a salient feature of Middle East studies into the 1980s, even as the field became increasingly developed, institutionalized, stable and (in terms of scholarly output) productive. Investigating this committee’s complex trajectory offers a way to elucidate this phenomenon and thus to help understand the vagaries and travails of building this field.

In the course of reconstructing how Middle East studies as an academic field was actually built, I pay considerable attention to the efforts made to endow it with greater organizational coherence as it began in the early 1960s to approach what might be termed critical mass, in terms of numbers of centers, programs, faculty and students as well as of scholarly publication. One manifestation of those efforts was the now largely forgotten American Association for Middle East Studies, which for some years played a significant role in the field and whose rise and fall I reconstruct here. Another was of course the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), founded in 1966 after many twists and turns, which quickly became (and remains) the leading academic organization in the field. The circumstances that led up to MESA’s formation and the association’s early history, which witnessed not a little contention and conflict, are extensively discussed here, as they too are part of the field-building story.

The historical narrative that I offer in this book, which begins in the 1920s, comes to its end in the mid-1980s. This is not because the field has no history worth relating after that time. Rather, well before the end of the Cold War and the fraught discussions that ensued about the rationale for the continued existence of area studies, Middle East studies (among other area studies fields) had already been undergoing significant transformations that would leave it very different than it had been in its first three or so decades. I chose to end this book on the cusp of these changes, because to adequately unravel their origins and trace their impact would require a study of a very different kind.

Over the succeeding decades a great deal of empirically rich and theoretically sophisticated scholarship has been produced in this field, much of it in active dialogue with work done in other fields and disciplines. Indeed, as I have suggested elsewhere, while Middle East studies as a field and many of its practitioners have over the last several decades been subjected to vituperation, threats and assaults by outside individuals and organizations with political agendas, in strictly intellectual terms the scholarly work done within it has generally been of very high quality, and has been increasingly recognized (and engaged with) as such by scholars in other fields.11 Along the way, however—and this is a central argument of this book—the vision that Middle East studies (and presumably other area studies fields as well) should or could have some unique or distinctive intellectual paradigm had to be abandoned. Instead, there has been at least de facto recognition that what gives this field its coherence is, simply, the fact that those engaged in it, while doing a great many different things in intellectual terms, all relate to part or all of more or less the same geographic space and are involved with a common set of institutions and networks.

In the course of my narrative of field-building in U.S. Middle East studies I occasionally zoom in for a closer look at university-based Middle East studies programs, particularly Princeton which before the Second World War was something of a pioneer in the study of the region in the period since the rise of Islam and which in 1947 launched what was portrayed as the first interdisciplinary Middle East studies program in the United States. However, this study operates largely at the U.S. national scale, with developments in Canada largely ignored, as is the Middle East Institute, which played an important (if largely nonacademic) role in the field early on and merits a serious study of its own. I certainly realize that much of the crucial field-building in U.S. Middle East studies was accomplished not by the big foundations, or by the academic organizations through which they worked, or by the Middle East Studies Association. Rather, it happened at colleges and universities across the country, where in each case a small number of highly motivated and energetic scholars and teachers struggled to get languages and survey courses taught, battled departments to allocate faculty lines, trained and mentored students, labored mightily to convince colleagues and administrators to support the creation of Middle East departments, centers and programs, secured Title VI and other funding for them, and so on. Some of the work needed to recover the local histories of how institutions and practices associated with area studies were actually implanted at specific universities, which would complement the perspective offered here, can be done in foundation and Department of Education archives, but much of it will require research in university archives and in collections of personal papers, along with oral interviews. That work has barely begun, suggesting that we still have a lot to learn about the history of this field and about the contexts that shaped it. I should also acknowledge that while I do at times discuss developments in other area studies fields, some of which have significant parallels with Middle East studies, there is simply no way I can delve into them in any depth.

The scholarly literature on the history of postwar Middle East studies in the United States as an academic field is surprisingly sparse. In addition to work cited earlier, there is R. Bayly Winder’s 1987 article surveying “Four Decades of Middle Eastern Study” and, in a class by itself, Timothy Mitchell’s 2004 essay on the trajectory of Middle East studies (and area studies more broadly) in the United States and their relationship with the social science disciplines.12 As I discuss in the Epilogue, while Mitchell’s essay is insightful and thought-provoking my research does not support the genealogy of the field that he outlines, which suggests that postwar Middle East studies in the United States was centrally shaped by Arnold Toynbee’s vision of world history, transmitted through H. A. R. Gibb. I also benefited from two collections of interviews with leading scholars in Middle East studies, many of them no longer alive: Thomas Naff’s Paths to the Middle East: Ten Scholars Look Back (1993) and Nancy Elizabeth Gallagher’s Approaches to the History of the Middle East: Interviews with Leading Middle East Historians (1994).

There has been some important work on the histories, politics and cultures of other area studies fields in the United States, as well as on area studies as a whole. David C. Engerman’s Know Your Enemy: The Rise and Fall of America’s Soviet Experts (2009) offers a remarkable study of one regionally focused field, though my purposes and approach in this book are rather different from his; I am also doubtful that, at least for the period covered in this book, the kind of investigation Engerman has accomplished for Soviet studies could be done for Middle East studies. I cite other work in these genres along the way or in the Bibliography, and I discuss some of the issues they raise (including the depiction of area studies as essentially a product of the Cold War) in the Epilogue. I also draw on the valuable scholarly work that has been done on the critical role played by the leading foundations in many dimensions of American higher education as well as in shaping the contours of social science research in the United States during the twentieth century, though for the most part that work does not delve into Middle East studies or even area studies as such. I have benefited as well from the rich and growing literature on the new conceptions and forms of knowledge generated during the Second World War and the Cold War. For example, Nils Gilman’s Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America (2003) offers a powerful overview of the rise and fall of modernization theory in postwar American social science, while Irene L. Gendzier’s Managing Political Change: Social Scientists and the Third World (1985) remains a landmark.

Then there is Robert A. McCaughey’s 1984 study International Studies and Academic Enterprise: A Chapter in the Enclosure of American Learning, which traces the process by which (as McCaughey sees it) primary responsibility for the pursuit of international studies—which he defines as “serious inquiry by Americans into those parts of the world Americans have traditionally regarded as having histories, cultures, and social arrangements distinctly different from their own”—was “enclosed,” that is, was transferred from the American intellectual community writ large to the narrower world of academia.13 There is much of value in this book and McCaughey’s thesis is provocative, but his definition of international studies is so broad as to be of limited use for my purposes. He is, in fact, not particularly interested in area studies as such and so does not seek to reconstruct or assess the specific trajectory of this field, as opposed to the many other things that he includes under the rubric of international studies.14

I am well aware that there are aspects of the history of area studies and Middle East studies into which this study does not delve; all I can say is that one can do only so much in a single book. There is certainly plenty of room (and need) for more research on the questions I explore here (and others that I don’t), and more broadly on how knowledge about the “non-West” has been produced and disseminated in the American academic world over the past century or so.15 I focus in this book on what I see as key dimensions of how one (relatively small) region of the American academic world took shape. Some of what I relate here fits with the story that I and others have told about the trajectory of area studies in general and of Middle East studies in particular, but it also includes a great deal that I for one had not known about or expected. Like every process of academic field-building, indeed like all human endeavors, the field of Middle East studies as we know it today turns out to be the product of all sorts of contingencies, of politics of many kinds, of visions and projects that had consequences their initiators did not intend or anticipate, of interventions by people and institutions with divergent hopes and motives, of conflict and contention, and of much else besides. I must hope that the way this study reconstructs and relates this complex history does it at least partial justice.


1. Tamar L. Gutner, The Story of SAIS (Washington DC: School of Advanced International Studies, 1987), 1.

2. Bundy’s two successors as National Security Advisor—Walt W. Rostow and Henry Kissinger—also spoke at SAIS that year. The next time Kissinger came to SAIS for a lecture was in 1970, soon after the U.S. sent ground forces into Cambodia. A student posed the very first question: “Mr. Kissinger, do you consider yourself to be a war criminal?” Kissinger walked out, never to return (at least as of 1987). Gutner, SAIS, 69–70. For a devastating portrait of Bundy and his colleagues, see David Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest (New York: Random House, 1972).

3. McGeorge Bundy, “The Battlefields of Power and the Searchlights of the Academy,” in The Dimensions of Diplomacy, ed. E. A. J. Johnson (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1964), 1, 2–3.

4. Ibid., 3.

5. Ibid., 8–9.

6. For consistency’s sake this book generally uses the term “Middle East studies” to denote this academic field, because this is how it is commonly referred to today. This usage is of course anachronistic for some of the periods I discuss, and so I sometimes use the term “Near Eastern studies” when that seems more appropriate. On how the region has been denoted in the West see Zachary Lockman, Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism, 2nd edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 97–99, and Michael E. Bonine, Abbas Amanat and Michael Ezekial Gasper, eds., Is There a Middle East?: The Evolution of a Geographical Concept (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012).

7. See for example an essay by Bruce Cumings which has been published in several versions, two of which I discuss more fully in the Epilogue: “Boundary Displacement: Area Studies and International Studies during and after the Cold War,” in Universities and Empire: Money and Politics in the Social Sciences during the Cold War, ed. Christopher Simpson (New York: The New Press, 1998), 159–188, and the revised version published six years later as “Boundary Displacement: The State, the Foundations, and Area Studies during and after the Cold War,” in Learning Places: The Afterlives of Area Studies, eds. Masao Miyoshi and H. D. Harootunian (Durham: Duke University Press, 2002), 261–302. On Cold War-era scholarship and its links with policymaking more broadly, see Irene L. Gendzier, Managing Political Change: Social Scientists and the Third World (Boulder: Westview Press, 1985); Michael E. Latham, Modernization as Ideology: American Social Science and “Nation Building” in the Kennedy Era (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000); and Nils Gilman, Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003).

8. Matthew F. Jacobs, Imagining the Middle East: The Building of an American Foreign Policy, 1918–1967 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011), which focuses on the informal networks of scholars and other experts which helped shape U.S. Middle East policy, and Osamah F. Khalil, “America’s Dream Palace: The Rise of the U.S. National Security State and Middle East Expertise, 1902–2012” (unpublished manuscript under review), whose focus is well described by its subtitle. Khalil explores some of the same terrain that I cover in this book, but his perspective, interests, research questions and sources are quite different from mine. I cite here chapter and page numbers from the version of his manuscript that he graciously shared with me in November 2014.

9. On this question, to which I return in the Epilogue, see also David Engerman, “Social Science in the Cold War,” Isis 101 no. 2 (June 2010): 393–400, which discusses work that questions the assumption made by many intellectual and political historians that “social science in the Cold War . . . equals Cold War social science.”

10. Emily Hauptmann, “The Ford Foundation and the Rise of Behavioralism in Political Science,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 48 no. 2 (Spring 2012): 155. See too Mark Solovey, Shaky Foundations: The Politics-Patronage-Social Science Nexus in Cold War America (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2013), who suggests that “as the literature on the social sciences in Cold War America has acquired increasing depth, interest in ‘following the money’ has emerged as a central theme.” (2)

11. Zachary Lockman, “Challenges and Responsibilities in a Time of Crisis,” Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 42 nos. 1/2 (Summer/Winter 2008): 5–15 (hereafter cited as MESA Bulletin).

12. Timothy Mitchell, “The Middle East in the Past and Future of Social Science,” in The Politics of Knowledge: Area Studies and the Disciplines, ed. David Szanton (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), 74–118. Another essay by Mitchell, published a year earlier, covers much of the same ground; see “Deterritorialization and the Crisis of Social Science,” in Localizing Knowledge in a Globalizing World: Recasting the Area Studies Debate, eds. Ali Mirsepassi, Amrita Basu and Frederick Weaver (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2003), 148–170.

13. Robert A. McCaughey, International Studies and Academic Enterprise: A Chapter in the Enclosure of American Learning (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984), xi.

14. I also do not find McCaughey’s evidence of enclosure entirely convincing: for example, it seems to me that he ignores sites through which academics seek to engage with nonacademic constituencies, including policymakers but also the wider public interested in international affairs.

15. Some exciting new research is already on the way: for example, Robert Vitalis, White World Order, Black Power Politics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2015), on the history of the field of international relations in the United States and its largely unacknowledged (or suppressed) imbrication with race and empire.